Friday, April 8, 2011

Fire face true test at Seattle

Gonzalo Segares -- Getty Images
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- The Chicago Fire have lived up to their first two MLS challenges this season, but now the team heads out to the league's buzzing Northwest corridor for two matches over a six-day span.

The Fire face Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday at the notoriously decibel-shaking Qwest Field, then stay on the west coast to take on the expansion Portland Timbers next Thursday. Chicago is off to a 1-0-1 start to the season, while Seattle is itching for its first victory with a 0-2-2 record.

"They're still looking for their first win, so our motivations are different," Fire midfielder and defender Gonzalo Segares said. "We've got to take advantage and go over there and have two good games and get some points."

Chicago has to feel confident coming off a 2-1 victory over 2010 MLS champion Colorado Rapids on March 30 in its Lamar Hunt U.S. Open qualifier match, preceded by a 3-2 home opener win against Sporting Kansas City on March 26.

The Fire travel into the largest MLS fan base in Seattle, where the Sounders bring in crowds in excess of 36,000 per game. Chicago also has never won against Seattle, posting a 0-2-2 record since the Sounders' MLS debut in 2009.

"This will be one of the first real tests for this team," Segares said. "We've definitely got to be prepared for that. Mentally and physically, we've got to be ready."


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